Last night, the Dallas Mavericks attempted what they hadn’t tried since December 8th in Houston: Reach .500 again. The Mavericks made an agreement many weeks ago that they would grow beards and not shave until they reached .500 once more.
So, when the Indiana Pacers came into town Thursday night, the Mavericks were already planning accordingly. News began to spread that the barber of O.J. Mayo was given tickets to the game, so that they could finally remove those grangy beards. The Indiana Pacers took notice.
“We wanted to shut that s— down.” – Indiana Pacers Center Roy Hibbert
That’s exactly what you did Roy. Congrats!
The Mavericks were outplayed in every facet of the game last night. They flirted around in the beginning of the game, and even had a lead in the final minutes of the 1st half, before heading to the locker room tied at 41 a piece.
Look, the Pacers are a physical team that plays very good team defense. These kind of teams make games difficult for the Mavericks.
“I think a team like that blatantly brings out our weaknesses and shows our weaknesses,” said Nowitzki following the loss.
Well that’s great! They better rebound quick, because the Bulls are right around the corner, and they play the same physical game the Pacers do.
2 nights after the Mavericks dominated the Clippers in the paint, they took a step backwards. The Pacers had a 50-34 edge in the painted area, as well as a 55-34 advantage on the glass.
On a night where the Los Angeles Lakers fell to Milwaukee, the Mavericks couldn’t take advantage, and still sit 1 1/2 games back from the final playoff spot. If the Mavericks can rebound against Chicago on Saturday night, those clippers could be pulled back out for a huge game in Los Angeles, with more than just the beards on the line.
Chicago Bulls(39-31) – The Mavericks fell to the Bulls in Chicago back in November, 101-78. This time around, the Mavs will have the Big German available.
by Ryan Wilson on November 16, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments
Well look at us now, the Dallas Mavericks have a new win streak to build upon. It took pretty much the entire game on Wednesday night, but the Mavs finally put the nail in the coffin and kept the visiting Washington Wizards without a win.
We fans felt uneasy down the stretch and the Mavs themselves understand the concept of keeping the gas pedal floored against an inferior opponent. As Chris Kaman said postgame, the end result was a win. That’s what matters even if it wasn’t in the most elegant fashion.
Rejoice! It’s the end of another work week! Not for everyone, I understand. It’s Friday night and our Mavs are on the road once again. We have back-to-back games against the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. With the early tip times, you can relax watching Mavs basketball and later enjoy the evening in any which way you prefer!
The trip to Indy will be a return of sorts for several players and coaches. Rick Carlisle has been back now a number of times since his days as the Pacers head coach, but Mavs assistant Jim O’Brien will be back in Indy for the first time as part of the Mavericks organization. The two squads made a 3-player trade over the summer which saw Dallas sign-and-trade reserve center Ian Mahinmi to Indiana for starting point guard Darren Collison and swingman Dahntay Jones. Troy Murphy also spent four seasons with the Pacers.
Mr. “LET’S GOOOOOOO!” Mahinmi has played in all nine Pacers games this season, averaging 13 minutes and a meager line of 4.6 PPG/3.8 RPG/1 BPG. Meanwhile Dallas has seen Collison comfortably situate himself as the starting point man and that has led to DC posting career numbers through the Mavs first nine contests.
Small forward has been a position of injury for both the Mavs and Pacers, but Dallas is fortunate with the return of Shawn Marion (MCL) to action tonight. Pacers leading scorer Danny Granger remains sidelined for a couple months with a knee injury of his own. Paul George has contributed 14 points, eight rebounds and three dimes per game in Granger’s absence.
Once upon a time the Pacers nearly traded for O.J. Mayo. Due to a missed deadline, Mayo remained with the Memphis Grizzlies and now he’s our starting shooting guard in Dallas. The Mavs organization and all of us fans couldn’t be more ecstatic with what “Juice” Mayo has shown.
The Pacers have won two of the past three meetings over the Mavs, and the only game they played last season. While Dallas has to be somewhat satisfied with its 5-4 record without injured star Dirk Nowitzki, the Pacers’ season has been rather underwhelming in a division they should lead in light of the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls. The script instead reads 3-6 and a struggle to their season’s start.
So the table is set for what should be some entertaining basketball between two gritty teams who know their best ball is ahead of them. Both would like to take a step closer in the right direction tonight. Who’s it going to be? I have my pick, Let’s Go Mavs! Start this road trip strong!!
The third overall pick in the 2008 draft broke the news on his Twitter account, saying, “I will be signing with dallas! #Mavsnation.”
Not long after, Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted: “Welcome to the family OJ. We are fired up !! MFFL Mavs/Mayo Fan For Life !”
The 6-foot-4 Mayo came off the bench for the Grizzlies in each of the last two seasons and his scoring average dipped about five points below his first two seasons in the league.
He averaged 12.6 points last season, shooting 40.8 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from 3-point range. Mayo could become the Mavs’ starting shooting guard alongside Collision, Dallas’ new acquisition in a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers.
The terms of Mayo’s deal were not known. The Mavs had about $4 million in cap space remaining, which is what they could pay Mayo unless the move was part of a larger sign-and-trade deal.
Dallas has been careful to acquire players in the final year of their contract — Collison, Jones and Brand — or in the case of the only other free agent they’ve signed in Kaman, limit the deal to one year.
Jeff Caplan joined ESPNDallas.com in December 2009. Jeff covers the Mavericks, Rangers and colleges. He has a wealth of experience in the area, covering multiple beats in his 11-plus years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
On the first day that teams could start making official deals, we had one of the most baffling trades in a while — Indiana’s move of Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to Dallas for a signed-and-traded Ian Mahinmi.
Pacers fans complained that they were trading a starting-caliber point guard, one who led the team in PER during the playoffs, for a backup big man, but even that misses the more flabbergasting point.
Indiana was several million dollars under the cap. Mahinmi was an unrestricted free agent. There was no reason to deal anything to Dallas since Indiana could have just signed him straightaway.
I have no problem with the Mahinmi part. This was a good value deal for a big guy who has been consistently productive and is fairly young. He’ll certainly be an upgrade on Louis Amundson.
So help me out here. Why in the name of all that is holy would Indiana agree to donate two helpful players on low-dollar salaries to the Mavericks? I know the Pacers were worried about paying Collison beyond this season, but that doesn’t mean he had negative trade value. Sources confirm there were no draft picks involved. This was just a straight giveaway, with Indiana giving away two useful players for a marginal cap savings.
As for Dallas, it’s hard to know how the team got through the call without laughing hysterically. After being snubbed by Deron Williams and Steve Nash and not getting on the radar for Dwight Howard, the Mavs have been working on the difficult task of building a credible team around one-year deals and plunging back into the market next year.
The Pacers made that task a whole lot easier. Jones is exactly the type of active defender against big wings that the Mavs’ roster was missing, and he comes with a reasonably-sized expiring deal of $2.9 million. Collison, meanwhile, offers an immediate upgrade on Jason Kidd at the point, and his cap hold for next year is small enough, $6.9 million, that the Mavs can probably play the free-agent market and still keep him in restricted free agency.
Between this highway robbery and the solid one-year, $8 million deal for Chris Kaman, the Mavs appear to have most of their work done. The team has more than $5 million in cap space available (I mistakenly tweeted $4 million Wednesday, but I hadn’t removed Mahinmi’s cap hold), which may be enough to win an amnesty auction for another solid player on a one-year deal, Elton Brand. If not, other frontcourt options are out there.
Once that’s done, Dallas can use the under-cap midlevel exception worth $2.575 million to fill out the backcourt by either re-signing Delonte West or bringing in another player. That wouldn’t leave the Mavs with a championship-caliber team, but they’d be pretty good and have a lot of options going forward.
Larry Bird is expected to step down as president of the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday.
Team owner Herb Simon is scheduled to meet with Bird on Tuesday to plan Bird’s exit from the team, the Star reported. Last month, Bird told The Associated Press, he’d stay put as the Pacers team president for a few more years — if that’s what team owner Herb Simon wants.
“I’d do it today if Herbie was here,” Bird said last month, drawing laughter. “We’ve got kids working out, we’ve got six free agents, we’ve got a lot going on right now. Obviously, I want to sit down with Herb as quickly as possible. I don’t like this (questions) at all. I’d like a three-year deal, but we have a handshake agreement. It’s hard coming in here and not having the answers.”
The Pacers and Simon declined comment on the report.
The 55-year-old Bird was Pacers coach from 1997-2000, returning to the front office in 2003. He took over from Donnie Walsh in 2008 as president of basketball operations and was this season’s NBA’s Executive of the Year after building a tough, young team that lost to eventual champion Miami in the playoffs.
The former Indiana State star won three MVP awards and three NBA titles during his Hall of Fame career with Boston.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
James scored 40 points with 18 rebounds and nine assists, and Wade added 30 points — 22 in the second half — as Miami rallied to even their semifinal series against Indiana with a 101-93 win on Sunday over the Pacers, who had the defending Eastern Conference champions down couldn’t keep them there.
“I felt like I had to do whatever it took to win,” said James, who played all but four minutes.
With All-Star forward Chris Bosh injured and back in Florida, the James-Wade tag team saved the Heat, who will host Game 5 on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“Me and ‘Bron had it going,” said Wade, who bounced back from the worst playoff game of his career — five points on 2-of-13 shooting — with one of his best, “We played off of each other very well. We both were aggressive at the same time. That’s beautiful basketball for the Miami Heat when we play that way.”
The Heat now head home back in control of the best-of-seven series, which is down to a best-of-three with two of the games on Miami’s home floor.
“It’s still going to be a dogfight,” James said.
Udonis Haslem, playing with a large bandage covering a nasty cut over his right eye that required nine stitches, added 14 points for Miami.
For a while, the Heat’s season was slipping away.
The underrated Pacers had built a 10-point lead in the third quarter and were threatening to run away as they did in Game 3, when James and Wade took over. They scored 38 consecutive points in one stretch bridging the second and third quarters and combined to score 28 of Miami’s 30 in the third when the Heat seemed to be playing with two to Indiana’s five.
“LeBron had that look,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “And when he has that look and Dwyane has that look, you want to run through a wall.”
Wade finished with nine rebounds and six assists, erasing the ugly memory of Game 3 when he also had a confrontation with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, a public dispute that turned into a bigger deal than it probably was because of a two-day break between games. The next day, Wade, who has refused to blame injuries for his recent struggles, visited his former Marquette coach Tom Crean, who is now at Indiana.
Wade said Crean had film for him to watch.
“I was able to be a student of the game,” Wade said. “Just figuring out what I needed to do differently to help our team get this win. I just wanted to come out today and affect the game somehow. Obviously, I knew I was struggling a little bit on my offensive game. I wasn’t going to let that affect my overall game.”
James dismissed the idea the Heat were desperate team.
“That’s a strong word,” he said. “It’s a team with a lot of veterans and a lot of fighters.”
Danny Granger scored 20 and Paul George 13 to lead the Pacers. Center Roy Hibbert, so dominant at both ends in Game 3, had just 10 points and was in foul trouble in the second half.
Indiana coach Frank Vogel second-guessed his decision to keep Hibbert and David West on the bench for a long stretch after halftime. But it was the Pacers’ inability to stop Wade and James that was the difference.
“You get the ball out of one of those guy’s hands and it gets to the other guy’s,” he said. “It’s not like one superhero and a bunch of role guys.”
Granger’s 3-pointer had given Indiana a 61-51 and the Pacers, outhustling the Heat to loose balls, appeared poised to take a commanding lead in the series.
But that’s when James and Wade put on a jaw-dropping spectacle, combining for all but two points in a 25-5 run that put Miami up 76-66.
During one sequence, Wade lost his balance and fell and was lucky to push the ball toward James near the top of the key. As Wade scrambled to his feet, James alertly passed him the ball and he calmly knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Heat a 64-63 lead. The pair made easy shots, tough ones and did everything in their power to steer Miami away from a 3-1 hole.
Only eight teams in league history have overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. That’s what the Heat were staring at with a loss in Game 4.
The Heat took a 76-70 lead into the fourth, and every time Indiana got close, either Wade or James responded.
Miami also got a huge lift down the stretch from Haslem, who hasn’t been a factor in the series but made four big jumpers in the final six minutes despite having his head split by an elbow by Indiana’s Louis Amundson.
“Those guys carry a large load,” Haslem said of Wade and James. “But sometimes we need other guys to step up and tonight was my turn. Next time it might be somebody else.”
Granger’s 3-pointer got the Pacers within 96-91 with 1:33 left, but Haslem hit another short shot and James closed the Pacers out with three free throws in the last 16 seconds.
Following the game, James sat in front of his locker icing both knees and reading a hard copy of “Hunger Games.”
After finishing a page or two, he set the book down. There’d be time for that later.
The Heat were heading home, feeling good about the next chapter.
James, Wade and Haslem combined for 53 of Miami’s 55 second-half points. … Before the game, Miami F Juwan Howard and Pacers G Stephenson exchanged words. In Game 3, Stephenson mocked James by flashing a choke sign after James missed a foul shot and Howard confronted the Indiana reserve. Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw stepped between the players. … Granger was slapped with his second technical in two games after getting in Wade’s face late in the second quarter. … James was one rebound shy of his postseason high. … The national anthem was performed on harmonica by 85-year-old Carl Erskine, who pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1948-59. Erskine is an Indiana native. … Heat owner Micky Arison was asked for his autograph by several fans sitting near the Miami bench. “You must be desperate,” he cracked.
The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers won’t play each other until Sunday afternoon, but Indiana coach Frank Vogel is wasting no time in taking shots at the Heat.
“They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA,” Vogel told reporters at Thursday’s practice in Indianapolis. “It’ll be very interesting (to see) how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward.”
Led by Heat forwards Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier, the Heat drew the fourth-most charges in the NBA during the regular season, according to Hoopdata.com. Since Miami normally plays without a traditional center, protecting the rim with a variety of different methods is critical to its defense.
“Every drive to the basket, they have guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers,” Vogel said. “Oftentimes they’re falling down even before contact is even being made. It’ll be interesting to see how the series is officiated.”
The Heat defeated the New York Knicks on Wednesday night in the series-clinching game. Guard Dwyane Wade and forward LeBron James are known to be the top foul-drawing players in the game. In the first-round series against New York, the Heat won the free-throw battle, generating 151 free-throw attempts compared to New York’s 109 attempts from the charity stripe.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra foresees a physical series against the Pacers.
“This next series, I’m sure, will feel like it’s played in a cage rather than on a basketball court,” Spoelstra said following Miami’s win over the Knicks. “It’ll be that physical.”
The Pacers enter Sunday’s game as one of the league’s hottest teams, beating the Orlando Magicin five games and winning 14 of their last 17 games dating to early April. Sunday’s matchup will be the first game between the two teams since March 23, when Indiana won by 15 points on its home floor. The Heat won the previous three matchups by a total of 52 points.
James disagreed with a reporter on Wednesday who suggested that the Pacers have had the upper hand against the Heat this season.
“I don’t think they’ve given us too many problems, personally,” James said. “We played some great ball against them. I think we gave them more problems than they gave us.”
The Indiana Pacers have looked like a team with enough talent to win in the playoffs.
After wasting a big lead in Game 4 against the Magic, the Pacers showed they have the late-game toughness to win as well.
George Hill hit a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds left in overtime to help Indiana survive squandering a 19-point fourth quarter lead and beat the Orlando Magic 101-99 on Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
David West scored 26 points, including 12 in the third quarter and four in overtime for Indiana. Danny Granger added 21 points.
The Pacers won their third straight game and will try to close out the Eastern Conference series Tuesday in Indianapolis and get out of the opening round for the first time since 2005.
“They did a great job of coming back,” said Granger, who returned to the game in the fourth quarter after spraining his right knee in the third. “That was a momentum win. They had a lot of momentum going. We’re lucky to get out of here.”
Indiana coach Frank Vogel echoed that fortunate feeling, but said he also likes being in the spot his team is in now.
“Yeah, it’s a good place to be,” he said. “We feel like we can get a win on our home court. It’s tough to get a road win anywhere against anyone in the playoffs. To come in here in a tough environment and get two, it just speaks volumes of our guys’ resiliency.”
Orlando had a final chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Glen Davis‘ fade away jumper bounced off the side of the rim.
Jason Richardson led the Magic with 25 points and Davis added 24 points and 11 rebounds.
The Magic now head to Indiana staring at the possibility of their second consecutive first-round postseason exit as they continue their tumble since Dwight Howard‘s season-ending back surgery late in the regular-season. Including the regular-season, Orlando is 5-11 without the All-Star center.
Only eight teams have been able to wipe out 3-1 deficits in NBA history, the last being Phoenix against theLos Angeles Lakers in 2006.
“You wish just one of those shots could’ve dropped because I thought our guys worked really, really hard,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We had some really, really bad stretches in that game, but we kept coming. … We’re down 3-1 and it’s a matter of mindset and whether you think you’re still in the series or not.”
The Pacers started the extra period with six straight points, including four by West.
Richardson responded with a 3 to make it 95-92 and Jameer Nelson fouled out Roy Hibbert with his three-point play following a Pacers’ miss to tie it.
Hill hit two free throws on the other end to put Indiana back on top, but Davis tied it again with a twisting layup.
After an Indiana timeout, Hill hit a floater from the wing, but Davis again matched it on the Magic’s next possession.
The Pacers quickly pushed the ball up the floor and Nelson fouled Hill in the lane to set up his decisive free throws.
Hibbert finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Hill started slow, but was huge down the stretch and ended up with 12.
“I was just determined to try and win,” Hill said. “My teammates believed in me, and I got to knock down a couple of big shots. I get to ride my teammates coattails and fill in a little bit.”
“I got a great shot off. Just short,” Davis said of his final attempt. “It was on line. It was right there, but it was short. Two inches or one inch up and we’d probably be playing more overtime right now or celebrating. … It’s a fight now. Fight to see another day. Another game. Can’t worry about it. Can’t let it affect us.”
Van Gundy said before the game that he thought he left his starting unit on the floor too long to begin Game 3. He went to the bench for the first time with just over five minutes to go on Saturday.
But Orlando’s second unit struggled to provide the same boost it had in the previous three games.
Still, with Anderson starting out with one of his better offensive games of the series, some rejuvenated play by Turkoglu and strong free throw shooting, the Magic were able to keep nipping at the Pacers in the second half and down the stretch
Things got a little testy early in the fourth quarter, when Orlando’s J.J. Redick picked up a technical foul after a post-play skirmish with Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough.
There were also a handful of foul calls that the Magic players took issue with and seemed to play into their frustrations as the Pacers built an 82-63 lead.
Orlando wasn’t done, though, and used a 14-0 run to cut it to 82-77 with 4:40 to play, prompting the second Pacers’ timeout in a two-minute stretch.
Richardson nailed a 25-footer to trim it back to five and it was 89-86 after two Davis free throws.
That was still the score when Redick got free on an out of bounds play and hit a 3 from the wing to tie it with 38.7 left.
A desperation 3-pointer by Hill with the shot clock winding down resulted in a shot clock violation and gave Orlando the ball with 14.7 showing in the clock, but Nelson’s fade away jumper in the lane fell short at the buzzer.
West said after sweating out Saturday’s win, they are going back home focused, but mindful that the Magic aren’t about the lay down.
“It is hard to win games period,” he said. “We will take the win. I thought it was good from the perspective that we made a lot of mistakes. … We were still able to respond and come out of here with a win.”
There was a moment of silence before the game in honor of Visit Orlando CEO Gary Sain, who died Friday at age 61. Sain, a fixture in tourism marketing, was instrumental in helping Orlando host the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. … Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, was in attendance.